FORT WORTH – Eighth-seeded Wichita State recorded the biggest upset in American Athletic Conference Championship history with its 65-53 upset of top seed South Florida Tuesday afternoon in the quarterfinals.
Wichita State (18-13) advances to the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Championship for the first time in school history with the wire-to-wire upset. This was only the second appearance in the quarterfinals for Wichita State in its brief history as a member of the American.
The No. 1 seed had been 27-0 all-time in the AAC Championship entering today’s quarterfinal matchup.
The Shockers will face the winner of No. 4 Houston and No. 5 SMU Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT for a spot in the championship game.
Jane Asinde scored a game-high 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with eight rebounds. Curtessia Dean poured in 11 of her 14 points after halftime, and they all came at a time when South Florida started to threaten a comeback attempt.
Wichita State held USF to 19-of-60 from the field (32 percent) and just 4-of-22 from beyond the arc. Wichita State knocked down 6-of-13 attempts from long range and finished at 47 percent overall.
Wichita State came out firing on all cylinders to open the game. They started the game 7-of-8 from the field to build a 14-4 lead, while South Florida missed its first seven field goal attempts. Wichita State finished the quarter shooting 64 percent against one of the league’s best field goal defenses.
Seven first quarter points from Asinde and stingy defense saw Wichita State lead 15-8 after 10 minutes. The Bulls missed 12 of their 15 tries, including all five three-point attempts.
Behind a 12-2 run over the first 6:30 of the second quarter, Wichita State had built a 27-13 lead, as frustration continued to mount on the offensive end for USF.
Wichita State led by as many as 15 in the first half and would take a 32-20 lead into the locker room. The Shockers were in control from the opening tip. South Florida entered the matchup with the top field goal percentage offense in the conference, but were held to 8-for-31 from the floor and 2-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Asinde led all scorers with 12 points in the first half, while the Co-American Player of the Year and USF’s leading scorer, Elena Tsineke had just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting.
The first cold spell hit Wichita State near the midway point of the third quarter. Wichita State went 3:14 without a basket and the Bulls cut the deficit to two, 35-33, behind an 11-0 run. A much-needed answer came in the way of a Curtessia Dean triple to push the margin back to five with 4:41 left in the period.
Dean would score nine straight for the Shockers to extend the lead back to nine with less than 2:00 minutes to go in the third.
USF went 1-of-2 at the free throw line and Daniela Abies banked in a 15-foot jumper before the buzzer sounded to send Wichita State into the final quarter with a 46-38 lead.
Wichita State immediately pushed the margin back to double digits to begin the fourth quarter behind a 7-0 run from a McCarty three-pointer and four points from Abies made it 53-40. USF would never recover.
Wichita State led by as many as 15 in the final 5:00 minutes and never let the lead shrink below 11.